Felix Goebel-Komala is music and liturgy director at St. Michael Church. Originally from Hong Kong, Mr. Goebel-Komala came to the United States in 1979 to attend college at the University of Iowa. He became an American citizen in 1992 and is passionate about the rights and freedoms that the United States affords its citizens. Mr. Goebel-Komala has been married to his wife Mary for 29 years and, together, they have an 11-year-old daughter Felicity.
Where are you from? What brought you to Findlay?
I was born and raised in Hong Kong. My parents are of Chinese descent, but were raised in Indonesia. They each found their way to Hong Kong after World War II where they met, got married, and decided to start a life there. In 1979 I moved to the United States to attend college. I started as a business major, as any good Hong Kong student would, but that lasted about three days. I eventually found my way to music. I was a liturgy and music director in Minnesota and California before moving to Findlay. I have been here 21 years and counting.
Biggest difference between Findlay and home:
The size, for sure! Findlay is a town of 40,000. Hong Kong has a population of 7.5 million. Recently I was in Hong Kong and they were advertising an apartment complex, with a
shopping center beneath. That apartment complex could house the entire population of Findlay in one building. Traffic is also a big difference. Here I call it the “rush minute” on Tiffin Avenue, it’s nothing compared the to the traffic in Hong Kong.
Favorite place/activity with the kids:
My daughter Felicity and I enjoy going out to eat and trying new cuisines. We also love to travel. This past summer Felicity and I travelled to Nashville for a reunion with the families of who we travelled with in 2005, when we to adopted Felicity from China.
Favorite Findlay spots:
For a date, my wife and I enjoy Bistro on Main. With my friends, I like to hang out at Beer Barrel or Ralphies. Believe it or not, my favorite place to shop is Meijer. It’s one stop shopping! We don’t have anything like that in China.
A cultural tradition you enjoy from home:
My outlook on life is very much Chinese, especially the way I look at relationships and life. I try to be very respectful of people who are older than me or in higher authority. I try to call them by proper names. I have also taught my daughter to refer to my close friends as “uncle” or “aunt” even though they are not biologically related. Having Felicity address them that way is part of my Chinese culture.
A cultural tradition you enjoy here:
Fireworks are something I have always loved and were a big part of my growing up. However Hong Kong banned all fireworks from about 1967 until just recently. When I came to this country and saw my first Fourth of July I was very excited. It is still one of my favorite traditions along with Thanksgiving and Halloween.
Your top parenting trick:
I cut undesired food in very small pieces. My daughter really likes spices, so if I chop spinach up very very small to the size of a spice, she would eat it.
I became an American citizen in 1992. The one thing I’ve always cherished was the ability to vote, because we don’t have that kind of privilege in Hong Kong. I try to impress upon other people that they need to get interested in what’s going on with the government so that they can effect change. I consider the right to vote as a very sacred privilege. It’s one of my passions.
My favorite recipe to make is an Italian dish. Linguine a la Carbonara… but I don’t make or eat it very often or I would be having health issues!
Know someone our readers might like to meet or have an example
of cultural diversity that we can share and learn from?
Email Sarah Mayle at firstname.lastname@example.org.